Having loaded up our Subaru OUTBACK it was time to ‘Bugger Off’ from Darwin, Northern Territory, which has been our home for nearly a year. We were appropriately driving through the Aussie OUTBACK — destination, Wauchope, New South Wales. Our journey would take us 4136 Kilometers or 2567 Miles, from the Top End of Australia, through the OUTBACK to the Mid North Coast of NSW.
It quickly became evident that Australia is indeed the flattest continent on earth, as the view towards the horizon melted flatly into a mirage of mysterious vapors. Although the Australian outback is undoubtedly flat and arid, the wildlife is abundant!
Spotting hundreds of kangaroos, dozens of emu, a handful of echidna and wild pigs we considered ourselves fortunate, as there was not much change in the landscape and what landscape there was, was not much to look at. Unfortunately we saw many animals as they ventured across the road in front of our car and thousands that had not successfully made that crossing, and lay in all stages of decomposition on and beside the road! It was a crossing that required our vigilance so that we did not contribute to the carnage!
Quaint little towns also spread themselves along the highway, however few and far between. Our vigilance was also required to ensure we didn’t run out of fuel! Following the Stuart Highway South we took a left at Threeways and began the daunting journey along the desolate Barkley Highway, crossing into Queensland near Camooweal. Although stopping to insure our Outback was fit to continue this arduous trek we hurried out of the large mining town of Mount Isa, with the slogan, “What’s the best way to see Mt. Isa? – through the rear vision mirror!” which was true!
At Kynuna we drove past the Walkabout Creek Hotel, famed hangout of every Aussie’s mate, Mick ‘Crocodile’ Dundee. In the town of Barcaldine we visited the ‘Tree of Knowledge’, birthplace of Australian Unionism and the Labor Federation Party. From Mitchell we turned onto a one lane road for 200 kilometers, which required our increased vigilance, moving over off the tar to share the road when the occasional vehicle passed by. After crossing into New South Wales we detoured to Lightning Ridge, legendary for its black opals, did a bit of fossicking and found some tiny pieces of the colorful gem in a ‘potch’ patch.
Next up was Walgett, with a population of 2300—a must on our list of tiny towns! Why so important, well the house Lynne lived in for her first 18 months of her life was in Walgett – “Keep moving nothing else to see here!”
The human spirit runs strong in this land! The early Australians built warm, inviting towns, on land that would be inhospitable without them. Those brave enough to live in these areas always welcomed us with a smile and a cheerful yarn about life in the Outback.
The trees increased and the wildlife decreased, having now made our way to ‘The Bush’ country of New South Wales and we felt triumphant! Six days after beginning our trek we arrived at Lynne’s Mum, Brenda’s, homey country farm-house alive, safe and very cheerful!
Travel On! Join us as we travel into the unknown.
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